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Automation Kills Jobs in Retail---and Replaces Them With Better Ones

Wall Street Journal

For retailers, the robot apocalypse isn't a science-fiction movie. As digital giants swallow a growing share of shoppers' spending, thousands of stores have closed and tens of thousands of workers have lost their jobs. But, Mr. Bessen found, ATMs made it much cheaper to operate a branch so banks opened more: Total branches rose 43% over that time. As the number of ATMs rose, so did the number of bank branches, so the ranks of tellers expanded.


Facebook Courts Video Makers for 'Watch' Tab With Financial Incentives

Wall Street Journal

Many of those media companies poured resources into online video in the hopes that big advertising budgets will follow, but it has been harder to realize those ambitions without the second of the two big tech giants fully in the marketplace. "We foresee increasing spend on the platform provided Facebook can demonstrate consumer interest," said Bryan Wiener, executive chairman of digital media agency 360i. In some cases publishers are pitching show ideas to Facebook complete with estimates of episode length and production costs, and Facebook is choosing which individual shows it is willing to help finance, according to people familiar with publishers' discussions. For many publishers, creating content for Watch isn't a significant departure from the way they already create video content for Facebook's news feed or for other video platforms such as YouTube.


SoftBank Plans 4.5 billion Investment in South Korean Tech Sector

Wall Street Journal

SoftBank Group Corp. 9984 -2.80 % Chief Executive Masayoshi Son on Friday said he intends to invest around five trillion won ( 4.5 billion) in South Korea's technology sector over the next decade. A SoftBank spokesman said that during a meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Seoul, the founder of the Japanese telecommunications and internet conglomerate said he intended to invest in fields including smart robots, the "Internet of Things" and artificial intelligence, areas Mr. Last year SoftBank invested 1 billion in South Korea's largest mobile-commerce company, Coupang, which the companies said was the largest-ever internet investment in South Korea. Friday's meeting comes after SoftBank closed earlier this month its 32 billion deal to acquire U.K. chip maker ARM Holdings PLC in the largest acquisition of a European technology company.


Ford Rolls Out Business Services Unit, Plans Autonomous-Car Services

Wall Street Journal

The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker told investors on Wednesday that its new business services unit eventually will deliver 20% margins, two-and-a-half-times its core auto-making operation. It updated its plans for venturing into robo-taxis, electric car and other transportation services like bike sharing and shuttle vans. "The world is moving from simply owning vehicles to owning and sharing them," Mr. Fields said. Ford didn't put a timetable on its lofty 20% margin target for new initiatives, which compares with a forecast of 8% margins in the core operation selling trucks, sport-utility vehicles and cars in markets all over the world.


Samsung Bets on China's BYD for Growth

Wall Street Journal

SEOUL--Samsung Electronics Co. said it will acquire a stake in BYD Co. via the Chinese electric vehicle and battery maker's 2.3 billion share sale, as the South Korean technology giant bets on the automotive market to drive growth. Samsung's latest move comes as more technology companies tap into the automotive industry as it undergoes a shift toward next-generation vehicles such as electric and self-driving cars.


SEC Investigating Tesla for Possible Securities-Law Breach

Wall Street Journal

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA 3.69 % breached securities laws by failing to disclose a fatal crash in May involving an electric car that was driving itself, a person familiar with the matter said, heightening scrutiny of how the Silicon Valley company handled the information. Tesla alerted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. car-safety regulator, to the crash and investigated to determine whether the car was using the company's Autopilot system, which lets cars drive themselves under certain circumstances. The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating the crash to determine whether it reveals systemic issues tied to development of driverless cars and investigations of accidents involving them, an agency spokesman said Monday. After alerting safety regulators to the crash, Tesla sent an investigator on May 18 to Florida to retrieve data from the car for the first time, the company said.